The concept of ancestral mythology is a very intriguing one. This is the mythology that our physical ancestors would have believed in. We each have a deeper connection to the myths and folktales of our own ancestors than to those of other cultures. This makes for an innate feeling of interest (for some people) for these particular tales. Something within our unconscious seems to already know these tales. Now connection to our own ancestral myths is not something everyone interested in folklore and mythology will have. You may be of Italian decent, but more interested in the Norse myths, for example.
For myself personally I have always been deeply drawn to the Celtic tales. This should be of no surprise to regular readers of my blog! On my mother’s side I have English and Irish, and I suspect Welsh, but I so far have no confirmation on that. So I do have Celtic ancestors, possibly more than just my mother’s father’s Irish and English ones. My mother’s mother was Polish and German, so that could mean possible connection to the Celtic or Norse, given that Celtic and Norse in some ways entwine and they are myths that travelled widely. My father’s family is Russian and Ukrainian. This could explain my interest in slavic vampire tales! I am also interested in the classic Greco-Roman myths as well, but the Celtic ones have always been much more important to me! I feel this can be explained in part because of my ancestral connection to them!
The Arthurian legends that I so adore in are another way of connecting to my Celtic roots. The legends of Arthur and his knights are a very Celtic set of tales. With the spread of Christianity they became more Christianized, but as with much of the lore of Celtic countries it is easy to see the pagan Celtic roots of Arthurian legends. This is much in the same way that Celtic gods and goddesses became saints, and faeries became seen as fallen angels. All was done in a way to Christianize things that had been for millennia distinctly pagan, and to encourage former pagans to become Christians. Instead of worshiping the Irish Goddess Brigid, they would pray to St. Brigid. Instead of the Avalonian goddesses of The Mabinogion being goddesses they are seen as faerie women, and never referred to as divine within the text, which was first written down during the medieval period. All of these things would lead to the Arthurian legends being stripped of much of their paganism. Guinevere was no longer a sovereignty goddess and faerie queen. Morgan was a sorceress alone, instead of also being a priestess. The Lady of the Lake is a faerie woman instead of a water goddess. In keeping the magical nature of these women, the legends also give hints of the Celtic beliefs under the surface!
I hope that you have found my delving into my ancestral mythic past intriguing. I also hope that this inspires readers to look into their own ancestral mythologies. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is the goddess Brigid. I found the image on twitter.com via curious ordinary.
- The Mabinogion translated by Sioned Davies
- The Fairy Bible by Teresa Moorey
- Avalon Within by Jhenah Telyndru
- Arthur and the Sovereignty of Britain by Caitlin Matthews
- The Once and Future Queen by Nicole Evelina
- Le Morte D’Arthur by Thomas Malory